Friday, June 3, 2016

{TECHNIQUE} Two ways to gather fabric

Gathering may or may not seem like a pretty simple technique to you - if you're new to sewing, if your style is a little more 'make it up as you go along' or  if you simply haven't spent much time following patterns, it may not be something you are completely familiar with.

AND if you're an experienced sewer and you've spent a lot of time reading patterns, you might still learn a tip or trick in this short video I have made.  I have included both the traditional/proper way to gather fabric and what I refer to as 'The Cheat's Method'.

Here you go! Just click play to watch.

Ultimately, gathering is a way to make a piece of fabric more ruffly and full, shortening it to fit another piece of fabric with a shorter length.

And where are we going to use all these gathered pieces of fabric? To make ruffles of course. Or to gather a skirt to sew it to a waistband or bodice, the top of a sleeve, at a hem to add a cuff. The options are endless!

How to choose which method to use? These are a few tips to keep in mind:

Benefits of " the Proper Way"-
- gathers form more evenly
- looks neater once sewn into a garment
- the gathers wont fall out or shift while being handles before sewing
- allows you to gather two or more layers of fabric together
- better for heavier fabrics or two layers of fabric

Benefits of "the Cheat's Method" -
- quick
- fabric gathers as you sew
- no snapping of threads
- its the QUICKEST way
- best for lightweight fabrics and single layers
- did I mention, it's pretty quick!

Watch the video and then you can decide which is best for your project! I use both methods, depending on the final look I am wanting. For skirts and dresses with more fabric to gather, I tend to use "the Proper Way". I save "the Cheat's Method" for dolls clothes, like this barbie skirt I made here, ruffles and to fit cuffs.

If you have an overlocker or serger, I'd highly recommend learning how to gather on that for super long ruffles like on the bottom of this dress.

Monday, February 15, 2016

{ Project of the Week } Vintage Circus Sit Upon pattern available.

Blogging took a bit of a dive last year, but now I'm ready to jump back into it! There are so so many projects that I did and just never found (made) the time to share on the blog.  Over the next few months, I'm aiming to share a project a week, so I'll start with a more recent(ish) one because it's just so flippin practical you should all have a set for the whole gang!

You know I am a huge fan of the One Thimble e-zine (and if you didn't,  now you do!). It's an Aussie sewing digital magazine filled with brilliant patterns and advice.  Last year I had TWO patterns published in OT. The first on was the Li'l Red Capelet for Barbie sized dolls, but you'll have to wait another week for that one (did I really not do that post on the blog??!!) 

The second one was this absolutely fabulous (yes I'm biased, but it really is!) picnic circle AKA the vintage circus sit upon. Yeah yeah, I know, there are plenty of tutorials online for similar things. So why should you make this one? Because it will make you feel very clever! This pattern includes instructions to make a plain Jane circle, like you might find in the online sewing world, plus instructions to embellish it with an amazing applique (applique patterns also in OT issue 9) PLUS has pattern pieces and instructions to piece two different kinds of sprocket and starburst designs. I've also added a waterproof top layer to protect the applique on the top. You could leave this off all together if you weren't worried about your applique friends fraying a little. 

Having two designs that were so similar was unintentional really. I constructed the pattern for the starburst with varied sized wedges first and then thought it would be easier to do all the wedges the same size. My pattern testers actually noticed they were different and so we decided to offer both patterns, ever so slightly different. I love that the starburst makes it look like our hero is popping out of the limelight! 

The free motion embroidered appliques by Sarah at Ric Rac and Retro really are something else. They add such a unique touch to just about any sewing project. There are two applique patterns for this issue plus a couple in some earlier issues of OT. When you combine these picnic circles with the a really funky appliqu, you'll be the envy of every other Mum at the park. Or on the school oval. And kids especially love that they have their own little mat to have their tea party on. 

See how much fun the kids can have with a picnic mat that's like no other. These are great to use all year round, no more wrestling with a ginormous picnic blanket and kids can carry their own. Check out what my amazing testers have done with theirs.

You may have seen peeks of this on Facebook already and if you want to know what I'm doing on a more regular basis, follow along with me on Facebook or Instagram. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

{Batman Fedora for Ben} One Thimble Gift Sewing

Our little friend Ben loves all things superhero and turned up at 3yo kindy dressed as Batman for Superhero week. I thought a Batman Fedora Hat would be the perfect birthday gift for him. Turns out, I was right. (OK, I may actually have checked with his Mum first!) He thought it was awesome, but like all 4 year olds, jumping on the trampoline is far more fun than posing for photos! 

The Fat Red Bird Designs Fedora pattern can be found in One Thimble magazine Issue 8... which I've already gushed my love for, so I won't bore you with that again, other than saying if you are interested in sewing, even just a little bit, go buy yourself an issue. Find it here (affiliate link). I first spied Renee's fedoras not long after I'd made this other fedora here, but I love the super cool style of this one so much more, so was very excited to get my hands on this pattern when it was released. I knew it would be the perfect gift to sew up for our all of our little friends.

The pattern itself is fab! It's directions are simple and easy to follow, and leaves you with a hat that fits perfectly, in almost no time at all. It really is a very quick sew. I have to admit it was a teensy bit big for Ben, but I never measured his head size and a couple of mm in seam allowance error will translate to more in overall head circumference, so all operator error. There are even some great tips on the Fat Red Bird Designs blog for shaping your fedora.

The only thing I did differently, was to fuse my interfacing to the fabric before cutting it out. It's not an economical use of interfacing, but I just didn't want to cut more than I had to. I'm a last minute kinda sewer. The midnight I'm always taking short cuts to save time, especially before birthdays, which is usually followed by after school deliveries!  


Isn't it just downright the coolest hat you'll see on a kid this summer. A perfect Christmas gift idea for boys or girls, and I almost forgot to mention, it'goes all the way up to ADULT sizes. Renee has thought of everyone!  Get your hands on the Fedora pattern or One Thimble Issue 8 to make some for yourself. I can see me making many more of these!

One Thimble Issue 8 Out Now

Follow along to check out all the fun sewing that's being done this week! 

Monday, September 14th
Amy at Friends Stitched Together made a Little Collector Backpack
Jen at Ainslee Fox made a Coco Flower Crown
Tuesday, September 15th
Lauren at Molly and Mama made some hexie wall art
Wednesday, September 16th
Stephanie from Swoodson Says sewed a Jackalope Tee
Thursday, September 17th
Alicia from Felt With Love Designs sewed a Little Collector Backpack
Michelle at The Toffee Tree sewed up a fedora
Friday, September 18th
Rebecca at Hugs Are Fun used the Coco Flowers
Rachael from Sew Today Clean Tomorrow sewed a Desert Fox softie

Monday, July 20, 2015

{ A Pattern Review } Skippy Dress + the 'Make for Me' List

The Skippy Dress has been in my pattern (PDF) box for 10 months. I FINALLY got it made! Hurray!! Are you guilty of hoarding unmade patterns too??

This fabulous knit dress (my first knit dress, made for myself, ever) is the Skippy Dress by Make it Perfect. I love the fit, it is absolutely perfect.

I haven't cropped my head off intentionally. Since discovering the brilliance of having a 50mm lens on my camera, I rarely take it off so in my haste to get a quick snap, my laziness meant I just couldn't zoom out. This was the cleanest wall in the house in the lightest room, and I just wasn't going to start cleaning other walls in bigger rooms (like near the dining table) for a picture.

The pattern itself is super easy to follow, would have taken me probably 2 hours from start to finish, if I hadn't been continuously interrupted (c'mon school tomorrow!). The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Toni even gives a great little guide on what stitches to use to sew the dress.

As I mentioned, the fit is perfect. I didn't cut a straight size though - the whole bodice piece I graded over 3 sizes, with an XS bust, graded to a Small at the waist and a Med at bottom of the bodice, based on my measurements on the sizing chart. I cut a straight Med waistband and skirt. I probably could have made the skirt as a small given the fabric is pretty stretchy, but my behind isn't small. I was a bit worried about the XS top being too small, as some shirts can be quite tight around my back and under the arms. I needed have been worried, the jersey has a lovely amount of stretch. As I didn't want the sleeves to be too tight, I cut them with an S width.  I didn't alter the length of the bodice or skirt at all and the sleeve length is absolutely OK. No long arm problem here. I did actually measure the sleeves to make sure they would be long enough. Just to make sure.

The dress, I just can't stop gushing about how pleased I am with how it turned out, it is perfectly comfy as it is. I forsee quite a few more of these being added to my wardrobe in the near future. Now I know how easy it is to make, I'll whip a couple more up when I find myself some more fabric!!

The fabric is a merino wool jersey. I may have done a little dance and wandered around with a silly grin on my face when I found this at The Fabric Store in Melbourne (on the what-I-hope-will-be-annual-one-day girls weekend away) last year. That fabric store is a treasure trove. All sorts of different things.  I knew that I was going to use this fabric for the Skippy Dress as I was buying it. I only wish I'd bought a bit more!

To recap -

An flawless pattern, great instructions and easy to sew
Fit is great, follow the sizing chart to modify if needed.

Supplies - 

Skippy Dress pattern by Make it Perfect
Merino wool jersey in blue and stripe from The Fabric Store

I have a ridiculous amount of patterns that I haven't yet printed, taped, traced and sewn yet (no surprises there!) I'm all for the PDF patterns, usually I see it and I want it here and now. To make right now. Or tomorrow (or next week, but I'm not thinking that when I want it). I don't want to wait 5 days for it to arrive in the post. Even if Australia Post was to improve their tardy deliver of parcels East to West, I think I'd still be too impatient to wait for it to arrive. Who knows why, the patterns sit waiting for a while!

Here is my 'Make for Me' list. 

I am always inspired by Sanae Ishida's blog and her handmade wardrobe, to make more of my own clothes. Loved the Me Made May challenge- my instagram feed was crazy with all that handmade greatness. I'm planning to add to mine so maybe I've got more than a half dozen things next year!

These patterns sit in a lonely PDF file that are dying to be bought to life. I'll make it my mission to finish then in the next 12 months! What about one pattern a month. That's do-able. In no particular order we have:
  • Miss Audrey Dress (1 Puddle Lane) - actually this one will be first. 
  • Marigold Peplum Top/Dress (Blank Slate) (muslin done, but not perfect)
  • Make it Perfect Essential Shorts (done, too small, relates to the not small butt mentioned above)
  • Sugar Pop Top (Sew Caroline Sewing Patterns)
  • City Girl Frock/Top (See Kate Sew)
  • Day Tripper Top (Shwin Designs)
  • Parisian Top (Go To Patterns)
  • Lotta Skirt (Compagnie M)
  • Briar Rose Top/Sweater (Megan Neilsen)
  • More Skippy Dresses and Tops!

And a few that I want to make but haven't purchased...yet!
  • Mercer Tunic (Whitney Deal)
  • Bombshell Swimsuit (Closet Case Files) -I even bought fabric in Bali back in March for this
  • Ginger Jeans (Closet Case Files)
I've realised that I really haven't blogged about many of the clothes I've made for myself. It's a bit tricky getting photos of one's self. I am working on it. Seven year olds can prove quite helpful.
These are a few other patterns that I have managed to finish:
  • Make it Perfect (MIP) Honey Top (another one)
  • Wiksten Tank 
  • Poppy Dress (MIP ) (here)
  • Waterfall Blouse (MIP)
  • Washi Dress (Made by Rae)
Given that the most recent of these purchases was 2 months ago, I think I'm doing OK. No need to join sewing patterns-anonymous just yet, but I really should get cracking through my list. 

I have purposefully omitted children's patterns from this list as that would really make me seem like I have a problem with collecting sewing patterns. 

Any suggestions of what I should add to my 'Make for Me' list? Fire away!

Me and two of my crazy smalls x